My Old Addiction

Movie Reviews By Bil Antoniou

Simon Of The Desert (Simon del Desierto) (1965)

LUIS BUNUEL  

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5Mexico, 1965.  Story by Luis Bunuel, Screenplay by Luis Bunuel, .  Cinematography by . Produced by .  Music by .  Film Editing by .

Luis Bunuel was a filmmaker of such power that even when making a 45-minute feature, he could still pack quite a lot of power into the experience. It’s a sardonic look at the fourth century ascetic of the title, who deprived himself of all worldly pleasures by living atop a stone tower in the middle of the desert for six years, six months and six days. He is venerated by all as a saint, but at the same time is constantly tormented by Satan in the form of , who dances around dressed like a little girl (in sexy garters), appears as a bare-breasted goddess and as a bearded shepherd. In the end she takes him to a modern discotheque where she delivers the ultimate temptation of modern-day living, in a touch of brilliant surrealism that only Bunuel could pull off so smoothly. It’s a terrific look at religious fanaticism with just the right blend of admiration and ridicule, and its perfect direction and photography contribute to its effect.

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